General information
The history of the complex
The permanent display
Virtual walk
Kastelet-Crikvine, a former summerhouse of the Capogrosso family built in the early 16th century, is situated in the vicinity of the Ivan Mestrovic Gallery. Even though it was originally built to be a holiday resort for the rich noble family from Split and a possible shelter from Turkish attacks, it served many other purposes throughout the course of history. At one point it was rented and became a tannery, then a cloth dyersí workshop, and for a while it was even a lazaretto for the victims of plague. In 1939, Ivan Mestrovic bought the complex (by then badly in need of repair) with the intention of converting this property near his representative palace into a more intimate space to be used for displaying his works. Soon after the purchase, Ivan Mestrovic and the architect Harold Bilinic (who also helped Mestrovic with his Split palace and a series of other architectural projects) started with the adaptation, focusing on the west part of the complex.
Mestrovic interpolated The Holy Crucifix Church in the existing structure of the complex, i.e. he reconstructed the west part of the yard by building in a peristyle with a variant of Doric columns. Mestrovicís initial artistic response to the settings amounted to five wooden reliefs of the future Christ-inspired cycle and a big wooden crucifix. The sacral New Testament theme, present from his early childhood artistic attempts, is very important in Mestrovicís work. However, he abandoned the theme completely when he went to Vienna for studies. It reoccurred in 1913, becoming the pivotal point of Mestrovicís artistic life and work.

The making of the whole cycle of 28 wooden reliefs inspired by the life of Christ lasted more than four decades, which makes it a unique phenomenon of the twentieth-century art. The reliefs were placed in The Holy Crucifix Church, consecrated and destined for the service in the Old Slavic, which was Mestrovicís wish.

The whole Christ-inspired cycle, except for the reliefs at the time deposited in Split, was first presented to the public in 1950 in the Hendricks Chapel, College of Fine Arts Syracuse University. It was then transported to the artistís homeland in 1953 and placed in The Holy Crucifix Church the following year. Even though its style and artistic quality are not uniform, the cycle remains a completed unit in the corpus of Ivan Mestrovicís work and a unique phenomenon in the Croatian art history.

  The east part of the Kastelet-Crikvine complex with the older Chapel of Our Lady of Good Counsel and an adjoining loggia with stone inventory, added during the adaptation, is an integral part of the artistís design and concept and should be considered in the

context of the whole complex.
A combination of authentic building styles of the centuries passed and recent sculptorís interventions, perfectly integrated into the Mediterranean landscape of the south slope of Marjan, transformed the Kastelet-Crikvine complex into a different, more intimate variety of the Split experience.

    Copyright (c) 2003. MDC, design NOVENA